Updated: December 13, 2021 | 11 minute read

    The Maltese archipelago is in the heart of the Mediterranean and is a popular tourist destination for two decades. The country’s favourable tax structure, reduced red tape, increased accessibility and regulatory development draw in EU nationals and expatriates worldwide. The booming real estate sector here mainly attracts high-net-worth individuals.  

    The Maltese market has earned itself a reputation for its stable return on investment, secure environment, and high quality of life. Foreigners looking to reside in the country can benefit from Malta’s legal system, including no tax on ownership or wealth. 

    In this regard, there are Special Designated Areas (SDAs) in Malta where no distinction applies between Maltese and non-Maltese citizens.  


    What are Special Designated Areas (SDAs’)?

    This (SDAs) status is granted to qualifying developments of apartments and penthouses. It allows individuals who are not citizens of Malta to acquire a property without obtaining an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit (same acquisition rights as Maltese citizens). Once purchased, owners may also freely lease or rent the property.  

    Properties in SDAs intend to provide their residents with luxurious amenities, such as marinas, spas, swimming pools, shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurants. Explore the following Special Designated Areas in Malta:  

    1. Portomaso Development, St. Julian’s, Malta  
    2. Portomaso Extension I, St Julian’s, Malta  
    3. Cottonera Development, Cottonera, Malta  
    4. Manoel Island / Tigne Point, Tigne/ Gzira, Malta  
    5. Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta  
    6. Madliena Village Complex, Malta  
    7. SmartCity, Malta  
    8. Fort Cambridge Zone, Tignè, Malta  
    9. Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala, Malta  
    10. Pender Place and Mercury House Site, Malta  
    11. Metropolis Plaza, Gzira, Malta  
    12. Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo  
    13. Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo  
    14. Pender Place and Mercury House Site, Extensions I, II, III, IV and V, Malta  
    15. Vista Point, Marsalforn, Gozo  
    16. Quad Business Towers, Mrieħel  
    17. Southridge, Mellieħa  
    18. Mistra heights
    Apart from the absence of distinction between EU and non-EU nationals and the freedom, investors can maximize other benefits when buying a property in Malta’s Special Designated Areas.  

    Benefits of buying a property in Special Designated Areas in Malta

    Buying a property in Malta can be an excellent investment. Whether the properties are for residence or rental, investors can leverage all the following benefits:  

    1. No Permits Required for Buying Property in SDAs

    As mentioned above, purchasing a property in Special Designated Areas does not require an AIP permit. It’s possible irrespective of the buyer’s nationality.  

    Following the Maltese laws, properties outside the SDA require the buyer to get the AIP permit. Take note that properties acquired under an AIP permit cannot be sublet. Learn more about the process and costs of buying a property in Malta.  

    Understand the various requirements for the acquisition of immovable property in Malta, according to Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta: 


    Maltese and EU Citizens –  both with five years continuous residence in Malta

    Maltese and EU Citizens – without five years continuous residence in Malta

    Non-Maltese and Non-EU citizens

    Primary Residence

    No restrictions – No need to apply

    No restrictions – No need to apply

    Prior authorisation is required*

    Secondary Residence or any other immovable property

    No restrictions – No need to apply

    Prior authorisation is required*

    Prior authorisation is required*

    Property in a Special Designated Area**

    No prior authorisation

    No prior authorisation or predefined limit

    No prior authorisation or predefined limit

    Immovable Property required for the person’s business activities’ or supply of services by such person

    No prior authorisation or predefined limit

    No prior authorisation or predefined limit

    No permit granted unless required for an industrial or touristic project or as a  contributor to the development of the economy of Malta


    *Buyers must obtain an AIP permit  

    Please note that buyers will not be granted an AIP permit if they have already purchased an immovable property in Malta.  

    2. Renting of Property in SDAs

    When a property is acquired through an AIP permit in Malta, there are certain restrictions on renting it outHowever, if the property is in a Special Designated Area, buyers may freely lease or rent them out. It is an opportunity to enjoy rental income and capital growth. Renting out a property in Malta is taxed at the rate of 15%.  

    3. Access to residency and citizenship programmes 

    Malta offers several residency programmes like the Malta Permanent Residency Programme (MPRP) and the Malta Global Residence Program (MGRP). An investor must meet specific eligibility criteria, one of which is to acquire or lease a property in Malta of a specific value. Since the property value in the SDA’s is high, investors can apply with their acquired property.  

    Download our guide and get a deeper look at the MPRP. 

    The same applies to applicants of the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Buying a property in an SDA in Malta also helps investors qualify for the programme, offering a Maltese passport and citizenship.  

    Malta welcomes investors from all over the world, especially in the Real Estate sector. The Special Designated Areas in the country can be the perfect locations for EU and non-EU nationals’ new homes or businesses. Buying a property anywhere in the area can be your next significant investment.  

    Are you ready to explore the Special Designated Areas in Malta? 

    Connect with our team now.